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Reviving the Strandja–Sakar region | Civic Europe
Community development

Reviving the Strandja–Sakar region

Let's improve living conditions in the villages from the region for the locals and attract young people to live here by developing the region through civic initiatives.


Who is behind this?

Mariana Stoyanova

Association for personal development (LiRa)



Idea pitch

The Strandzha – Sakar region is one of the regions in Bulgaria suffering from depopulatation. The population still living in the region faces major problems such as unemployment, aging, lack of access to basic services and poor infrastructure. In this context, our goal is to assist local citizens to revive the region through civic initiatives in the fields of tourism, agriculture and small and medium-sized businesses.

Where will your project idea take place?

Strandzha-Sakar region municipalities Malko Tarnovo, Sredets, Elhovo, Bolyarovo and Topolovgrad

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The depopulation of the area is due to lack of work, poor access to services - health, education, poor infrastructure. Citizens are forced to leave in search of a livelihood. Although due to the Covid crisis a process of searching for rural houses is observed, this applies mainly to villages near large cities. Small towns and villages away from big cities need to rediscover and promote their potential to become attractive to young people. The locals need knowledge and skills on how to develop the potential of the region in the field of tourism, agriculture and small and medium business by using the democratic mechanisms and involving the local authorities and other stakeholders.

Who are you doing it for?

We want to identify active citizens, 7 – 10 persons, from each one of the 5 municipalities as community organizers together with whom to motivate at least 3 active community members from each one of the villages within their municipality. All of them together will form the core that will start in-depth discussions among community members to generate and discuss ideas how to revive their villages, vote for the best ones, make action plans and involve local authorities, local business, attract investors and find funds.

How do you plan to get there?

Our plan includes:
• Identifying 7 to 10 community organizers from each one of the five municipality centers and train them;
• Involving active citizens from each village from the municipalities with the support of the community organizers;
• Organize workshops with participation of all stakeholders – 5 individual workshops for each municipality and 1 joint workshop for all 5 participating municipalities; Including brainstorming for ideas for civic initiatives to revive the region;
• Start developing the civic initiatives that come out as a result of the workshops togeder with the community organizers.

What are the expected results?

As a result of the project we expect to have in each one of the 5 participating municipalities:
• Active community organisers’ team consisting of skilled, trained and motivated citizens that understand their civic rights, the potential of the region, know how to start and develop projects that will lead to improve the living conditions, to identify the stakeholders and secure their support including how to involve the local authorities.
• Local communities aware of their civic rights and ready to participate and contribute to civic initiatives.
• Civic communities open to share of ideas and best practices between the municipalities within the region doing this with the understanding that together they are stronger.
• At least one ongoin project in progress for each municipality.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project goal is to awaken the civic consciousness of the citizens and make them realize that they are strong as community and that when they apply their civic rights and participate actively in the decision making process they can improve their living conditions and solve problematic issues.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our team believes in the potential of the Strandja – Sakar region. We consider that by activating and teaching the civic communities in the 5 municipalities they will discover their strength as community and unite around the common goal to revive the region by being proactive, by using their civic rights and involving the local authorities and other stakeholders.
Our team leader Mariana Stoyanova is personally connected to the region because her grandperents lived there.

€ 34800,-

Total budget

€ 34800,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Management & adminitrative costs: 8 500 Euro
Travel expenses & meetings: 6 000 Euro
Experts fees: 8 400 Euro
Workshops and training materials development: 6 000 Euro
Internet site with administrative panel: 2 400 Euro
PR campaign of the project: 3 500 Euro

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We will be thankful to receive feedback on our our project, information for good examples and networking with other organizations.


Mariana Stoyanova

Idea created on April 26, 2021

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